Two Montgomery County men were killed Tuesday night when their vehicle was swept off the road during heavy rainfall. The two were identified as 72 year old Dennis Clark Catron Sr. and 39 year old Dennis Clark Catron Jr., both of rural Elk City. During the heavy rain Deputies responded to multiple calls of stranded motorists and in some cases rural firefighters and deputies were going door to door to warn individuals of high waters. Rain fall totals for the area range between seven to nine inches.
At this week’s meeting, Allen County commissioners agreed to pay half the cost for an appraisal of the old Lehigh Cement Company complex, commonly known as Elks Lake. The Iola Register reports that Iola Industries offered to sell the property to the county a week ago for $1.4 million. Commissioners were told that the appraisal could cost as much as ten thousand dollars. Allen County has no comparable body of water open to public use and the Lehigh Portland Trails are nearby.
Allen County Republican precinct members appointed Bill King as the replacement for Tom Williams who stepped down as Allen County Commissioner earlier this month to take a job with the attorney generals office. King previously served as public works director for the county.
Iola voters will be asked to renew the city’s half-cent sales tax. The Iola Register reports that the tax has been in effect since 1989 and expires at the end of 2019. It produces about $600,000 each year and since 2013 roughly half of that has been used to support operations at Allen County Regional Hospital. Iola’s combined sales tax rate of 8.75 percent is the lowest of several neighboring communities, including Chanute, Fort Scott, Yates Center and Independence.
While there have been some recent rains, drought conditions for many areas of the state, especially eastern Kansas, continue to worsen. 24 counties have been moved into Emergency status from either a watch or a warning. Those include Anderson, Bourbon, Coffey, Greenwood and Neosho counties. Allen, Wilson and Woodson Counties are under a Drought Warning. Counties in emergency stage are eligible for emergency use of water from certain state fishing lakes and some Federal reservoirs.
U.S. 169 to close between U.S. 54 and Minnesota Road
Starting Monday, Aug. 20, the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) plans to close U.S. 169 from the junction of U.S. 169/U.S. 54 at Iola south to Minnesota Road.
The closure is expected to remain in effect for over 30 days, and is part of the ongoing U.S. 169 reconstruction in Allen County. The contractor will reconstruct the ramps and mainline pavement at this location and remove and replace a reinforced concrete box culvert. During the closure traffic will not be able to access U.S. 169 between U.S. 54 and Minnesota Road.
Traffic should follow the state route detour already in effect that follows U.S. 54, U.S. 75 and K-39. The detour information is available on posted signs and message boards, and can be also be accessed at http://www.kandrive.org or by calling 511.
Persons with questions may contact KDOT Iola Area Engineer Darrin Petrowsky at (620) 365-2161 or Public Affairs Manager Priscilla Petersen at (620) 902-6433.
Before Iola City Council members can approve the city’s 2019 spending plan they will have to have a second hearing. The Iola Register reports that is becaue of an error in Iola’s prepared budget. A July 30 public notice detailing the 2019 budget spelled out expenditures for the city totaling $28.4 million. Bit it did not include money shifted from equipment reserve funds into a separate line item for a newly developed Capital Improvement Projects fund — about $3.3 million. City Administrator Sid Fleming will ask the Council tonight to set an Aug. 27 budget hearing for the final approval.
The Community Blood Center of Greater Kansas City will host a summer blood drive from noon to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the John Silas Bass Community Building, 505 N. Buckeye St. Walk-in donations will be accepted, although donors may schedule an appointment online at esavealifenow.org , and enter “iola” as a sponsor code.
Officials say a man has drowned at a private lake in Linn County. The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism reports 55-year-old Melvin Eugene Steirwalt, of Kansas City, Kansas, drowned Wednesday at Tanglewood Lake near La Cygne. Witnesses reported they saw Stierwalt jump off a platform but they later couldn’t find him and called authorities. Game wardens using sonar recovered his body about noon on Wednesday.
Three candidates have made it known that they are interested in the Allen County Commission seat being vacated by Tom Williams. According to the Iola Register, they include long-time public works director Bill King, Iola City Council member Ron Ballard, and LaHarpe City Council member David Lee. Those seeking to replace Williams must be nominated by a precinct member at Tuesday’s meeting before they can be considered a viable candidate.
Allen County commissioners were approached this week with an offer to buy Elks Lake south of town. The Iola Register reports that if commissioners were to agree, the old Lehigh Cement Company quarry would become a public recreation lake. The lake is currently owned by Iola Industries. The group proposed that the county purchase the 250 acre property for $1.4 million. Commissioners were interested but didn’t make any committment. County Counselor Alan Weber said the property likely would have to be appraised before a county purchase.
A Wilson County man was sentenced yesterday to more than 19 years in prison for the 2016 death of a man in Neodesha. KOAM-TV reports that 37-year-old DeJay Lynn Schlegel pleaded guilty to reckless second degree murder and one count of arson in the death of Michael Elam who was found dead inside his home after it burnt down.
A 15 year old from Stark is dead after a three-vehicle crash on US 69 South of Fort Scott yesterday morning. According to the Kansas Highway Patrol, Hunter Kovacic was pronounced dead at the scene. The road was closed for several hours as authorities investigated the crash.
Tuesday’s primary election results stack up like this:
In Allen County for the Republican nominaion for the District 3 Commission seat,
Bruce Symes beat John Brocker, 58 percent to 42 percent. He advances to the November general election to face Democrat Steven Henderson.
Seven people lined up on the Republican side to claim the nomination to run for the second district US House seat currently held by Lynn Jenkins. The winner in that race was Steve Watkins who will go on to face Democrat Paul Davis in the fall.
For the Kansas House of Representatives District 13, Larry Hibbard beat Londa Tindle 55 percent to 45 percent.
Other state races saw Laura Kelly winning the Democratic nomination for governor while the Republican side was too close to call.
Other Republican nominations went to Scott Schwab for Secretary of State and Vicki Schmidt for insurance commissioner.